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Computing Thoughts
by Bruce Eckel
October 20, 2005
Someone pointed out that Josh Bloch suggests using interfaces to produce the effects of mixins; this is a common pointer when justifying the lack of multiple inheritance in Java. I've translated yesterday's C++ mixin example based on this idea.


Someone also suggested that the Java solution to the mixin problem is AOP, to which I generally agree. But in the absence of AOP, what's the best way we can do it?

Here's my first cut at the solution, but it seems very verbose and a bit awkward, especially compared to the elegance of the C++ solution. Perhaps people have ideas for improvements.

//: generics/
import java.util.*;

interface TimeStamped {
  long getStamp();

class TimeStampedImp implements TimeStamped {
  private final long timeStamp;
  public TimeStampedImp() {
    timeStamp = new Date().getTime();
  public long getStamp() { return timeStamp; }

interface SerialNumbered {
  long getSerialNumber();

class SerialNumberedImp implements SerialNumbered {
  private static long counter = 1;
  private final long serialNumber = counter++;
  public long getSerialNumber() { return serialNumber; }

class Basic {
  private String value;
  public void set(String val) { value = val; }
  public String get() { return value; }

class Mixin extends Basic
implements TimeStamped, SerialNumbered {
  private TimeStamped timeStamp = new TimeStampedImp();
  private SerialNumbered serialNumber =
    new SerialNumberedImp();
  public long getStamp() { return timeStamp.getStamp(); }
  public long getSerialNumber() {
    return serialNumber.getSerialNumber();

public class Mixins {
  public static void main(String[] args) {
    Mixin mixin1 = new Mixin(), mixin2 = new Mixin();
    mixin1.set("test string 1");
    mixin2.set("test string 2");
    System.out.println(mixin1.get() + " " +
      mixin1.getStamp() +  " " + mixin1.getSerialNumber());
    System.out.println(mixin2.get() + " " +
      mixin2.getStamp() +  " " + mixin2.getSerialNumber());
} /* Output:
test string 1 1129845639046 1
test string 2 1129845639046 2

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About the Blogger

Bruce Eckel ( provides development assistance in Python with user interfaces in Flex. He is the author of Thinking in Java (Prentice-Hall, 1998, 2nd Edition, 2000, 3rd Edition, 2003, 4th Edition, 2005), the Hands-On Java Seminar CD ROM (available on the Web site), Thinking in C++ (PH 1995; 2nd edition 2000, Volume 2 with Chuck Allison, 2003), C++ Inside & Out (Osborne/McGraw-Hill 1993), among others. He's given hundreds of presentations throughout the world, published over 150 articles in numerous magazines, was a founding member of the ANSI/ISO C++ committee and speaks regularly at conferences.

This weblog entry is Copyright © 2005 Bruce Eckel. All rights reserved.

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